Misfits Gaming Group hires Steven Brauntuch as first CMO – AdAge.com

Misfits Gaming Group hired its first chief marketing officer as the company looks to evolve from an esports organization into a media company. 

Steve Brauntuch joins the company from Activision Blizzard, where he spent four years, most recently as the director of global marketing. At the same time, Misfits also welcomes Candace Rhymer to chief people officer. Alyson Schefren will become the new VP of integrated marketing for the sales team.

“Steve, Candace, and Alyson will be critical in Misfits’ evolution from an esports org to a media enterprise,” Ben Spoont, CEO and co-founder of Misfits Gaming Group, said in a statement. “As we apply the considerable resources available to reimagine our business, I’m thrilled to partner with these talented senior leaders to tell our story and ensure we remain a person-first organization.”

The hires come as Misfits pivots to become a media enterprise on the heels of a $35 million investment from E.W. Scripps in September. The funding is meant to refocus the business to help it launch a slate of programming for traditional linear broadcast. The content will give an inside look at the teams, characters and lives behind gaming’s most competitive teams. Boca Raton, Fla.-based MGG has five professional esports teams, including Florida Mayhem and the Florida Mutineers.

“As one of gaming’s most visible and diversified brands, Misfits has a real opportunity to not only maintain an active conversation with our existing community but substantially grow our audience with original content and programming,” Brauntuch said in the announcement. “Reimagining modern esports into a media business is a real challenge that I’m excited to tackle alongside Misfits leadership.”

Brauntuch’s departure from Activision Blizzard is the latest in a series of executives who have left the gaming company after a lawsuit filed against it revealed allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination and toxicity within its ranks. The company’s cultural reckoning has caused some brands to pause their partnerships with Activision Blizzard titles, and the company recently said that it would have to delay two of its games – Diablo IV and Overwatch 2. Activision has tried to refocus its image by hiring Fernando Machado as the company’s new CMO in April.

Blizzard’s Chief Legal Officer, head of HR, and most recently a co-leader, left the company in the last three months. Activision Blizzard employees are now calling for CEO Bobby Kotick to step down after learning that he was aware of the sexual misconduct claims for years, according to reports. 

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